Autumn in the garden at Mottisfont

Autumn sunlight from behind a tree in the gardens at Mottisfont

Our gardens are vibrant with the colours of autumn: ancient trees around the grounds are crowning themselves in shades of red and gold. Take a slow stroll beside the river or visit the winter garden.

Autumn colours

The stately trees which frame our house and grounds are resplendent in shades of red, orange and gold. We’re home to the National Collection of plane trees, including the great plane - thought to be the largest of its kind in Britain. Framing the east side of the house, this veteran tree boasts a dazzling autumn display to greet you as you enter our grounds.

Chestnut trees lining the upper half of our main pathway glow with yellow-orange leaves. Another star of our colourful show is the hornbeam, which explodes into a canopy of orange and scarlet. Two tulip trees also come into their own during this season, as their acid green summer foliage turns a magnificent pale gold.

Our tulip trees turn a magnificent shade of gold in autumn
Bright gold leaves displayed on a tulip tree in the grounds at Mottisfont, Hampshire
Our tulip trees turn a magnificent shade of gold in autumn

Walled Gardens

In the walled gardens, our once-flowering roses have left behind colourful, ornamental fruits, or 'heps'. These brighten the borders at this time of year, and provide local birds with an important source of food.

In 2018, we created an innovative new Kitchen Garden here, which embodies Mottisfont’s medieval history and productive past. While we weren’t able to fill our Kitchen Garden with produce as normal this year, there are still some displays of scented herbs and flowers in red brick raised beds.

You may find that our gardens aren’t quite as you’re used to seeing them. We had few gardeners in the property during lockdowns, while everyone stayed home and stayed safe. We have a small team in now, but nowhere near what we’re used to, so the gardens aren’t perhaps as well-groomed as you might be expecting, with some weeds and rough edges.

Please bear with us while we work through this, and we hope that you can still enjoy the seasonal pleasures our grounds still have to offer.   

Glorious Gourds 

Running the full length of the garden are two cloister-esque wooden pergola walkways crafted from re-purposed Hampshire chestnut. These are draped with vines and strangely-shaped gourds through the autumn, planted with varities such as Turks turban, Patty pans and a really warty variety called Marina di Chioggia. These autumn baubles bring the colour to the kitchen garden. 

Wooden pergolas are brimming with gourds and greenery
A wooden pergola walkway in Mottisfont's kitchen garden, draped with gourds and greenery
Wooden pergolas are brimming with gourds and greenery

Help us in the gardens

As well as enjoying the colourful, seasonal displays from our trees, you can help contribute to our garden compost. Who doesn't love gathering big handfuls of crunchy autumn leaves? You'll find leaf bins dotted around the north and south paddocks for throwing in your harvest. 

Our gardeners will then add them into the compost mix, which will go on to feed Mottisfont’s plants. Compost is integral to keeping our gardens in top condition, and fallen leaves are an important ingredient.

Installations

As you walk towards the walled gardens, look out for Peter Frie's Big Yamutree on the paddock. This bronze and stainless steel sculpture will weather the seasons here until early 2021, on loan from from NewArtCentre, Roche Court.

Big Yamutree, by Peter Frie
A bronze sculpture of a tree in the gardens at Mottisfont
Big Yamutree, by Peter Frie